CCOM internships still strong despite change

The dean of the College of Communication said internships will still be a part of the student experience, despite last year’s internship coordinator’s position cut.

“There never was a question that internships would go away or that there would even be a diminishing of an internship program in the College of Communication,” CCOM Dean Gary Edgerton said.

CCOM lost its internship coordinator at the end of the spring 2012 academic semester.

Ed Kanis, an instructor in the strategic communication program of CCOM, worked as the first point of contact for CCOM students looking for internships.

The loss of the internship coordinator position worried CCOM students, who depend on real-world experience of internships for their future careers.

“I was a little worried because I still feel like I need guidance in that area,” Shelby Long, senior communication studies major, said.

During her time at Butler, Long has worked a marketing internship at Huntington Bank and a news reporting internship with WISH-TV in Indianapolis.

She discovered both opportunities through Kanis.

“I feel like I’ve gotten a taste of the real world,” Long said.  “It’s encouraged me to look for further opportunities for networking.  I made a lot of good connections through my internships.”

In response to student concerns, Gary Edgerton, dean of CCOM, said he understands the value of internships.

“Communication and its various specialty areas lend themselves to internships,” Edgerton said.

Nancy Whitmore, director of the journalism program, said in an email that internships would now be handled by the program directors of the six program areas in CCOM.

These areas are communication sciences and disorders; creative media and entertainment; journalism; media, rhetoric and culture; organizational communication and leadership; and strategic communications.

This is similar to how the internship program ran prior to June 2010.

“Whatever helps students get into the real world through internships is good,” Long said.  “I’m glad the directors are helping.”

From increasing the number of local and regional internships to looking at possible international opportunities, the college is hoping to expand internship opportunities for CCOM students in the near future.

The college is currently working to solicit ideas and make plans for an improved format to the internship program for the spring semester.

Last year, 59 CCOM students had internships.  Edgerton hopes to see that number eventually hit 100 per year.

“The number of internships that are relevant for communication students is really vast,” Edgerton said.  “We hope to make all those opportunities available to our students.”

Long said she would like to see this growth in the future even though she graduates in December.

“It’s hard to tell the future because I graduate early, but I just hope that if I were to come back, maybe in May, I’d see growth in that area,” Long said. “Students can be assured that the internship program has continued,” Edgerton said.  “It is still strong and healthy.  In the future it will grow to become more ambitious.  That’s what we’re working toward.”

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